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Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd1010

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[photo] Mount Hood [from Hood River, Oregon 8]
Photo credit: John Penhune, 2015
Date: n.d.
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 30 x 50 in (76 x 127 cm)
Inscription: l/r "Schâfer" in Schafer's characteristic block-lettering hand, but omitting the usual initial "F", which makes this signature unique. (See the Attribution discussion below.)
Verso: l/r "Mt. Hood" in the artist's characteristic block-lettering hand.
Provenance: In an unknown owner's home, San Diego, California; sold with the home circa 1925 to George William Gruetter and Ida Reinhardt Gruetter, San Diego, California; by descent in 1946 to Ida Reinhardt Gruetter, San Diego, California; by descent in 1956 to Frank Reinhardt Porath, San Diego, California; by descent in 1995 to Marcellite Helen Penhune, La Jolla, California.
Citations: Personal communications in 2015 and 2016 with the family of Marcellite Helen Penhune.
Attribution: The unique signature naturally raises the question of whether the painting is authentic and correctly attributed. It has all of the painterly characteristics one would expect in an authentic Schafer work. These include typical overall composition and style, typical palette, central focus achieved by illumination, consistent direction of the light source, less finished more distant planes, natural-appearing water, snags and debris along the shore, botanically accurate trees and brush, crudely drawn staffage, foreground details such as birds on the wing and water lily flowers. Also, the verso inscription is in Schafer's characteristic hand, and even though it is brief it is immediately recognizable. Another piece of evidence is that the canvas material in the verso photograph appears to be of the expected vintage. The question of whether the signature is original or was added later can be resolved by comparison of matching daylight and ultraviolet photographs. In the UV photograph the signature is completely obscured by fluorescence of the varnish, implying first that the varnish was applied after the signature and second that the varnish is old. Thus the evidence suggests strongly that the painting is authentic. That leaves for conjecture the question of why the signature is unique.
Site: A view of Mount Hood in eastern Oregon. From the profile of the mountain and the similarity to other Schafer paintings of the same scene, appears to be a view across the Hood River.
Identification: Title beginning with the artist's inscription, augmented to create a more descriptive title, based on close similarity to several other paintings titled by the artist.

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Feb 13, 2017, 11:05 MST